Santa Fe Activist Groups Speak Out Against a Nuclear Response to Terrorist Attacks

1,000 Citizens Request Governor Johnson Close LANL's Area G

* Several local activist groups signed a letter to Senator Jeff Bingaman requesting that he encourage the federal government make a statement that a nuclear response to the September 11 terrorist attacks should not occur. The letter was drafted by Nuclear Watch of New Mexico and signed by CCNS, New Mexico Toxics Coalition, Peace Action New Mexico and Los Alamos Study Group.

The letter argues that the use of nuclear weapons in response to this tragedy would only further the number of civilian casualties and have severe environmental impacts, thereby inflaming the worldıs opinion against the United States. The letter admonishes the use the "the greatest terror weapon of all" in combating acts of terrorism. The letter also states, "[The] use [of nuclear weapons] would greatly impair international co-operation. Terrorism needs to be isolated so that it can be more effectively countered. We cannot do that alone.Š Recent US foreign policy has taken an isolationist approach to international cooperation and treaties. This is a shortsighted policy in the face of growing economic and cultural globalization. It is simply impossible for the US to withdraw into a Fortress America, relying predominantly upon its military prowess to maintain our way of life. While internal protective security measures need to be undertaken, in the long run more global cooperation is needed. Our enormous nuclear stockpile did not deter the recent terror, and the use of nuclear weapons now will block the level of international cooperation needed to isolate terrorism."

Senator Bingaman is addressing the terrorism issue and considering Senate legislation.

1,000 Citizens Request Governor Johnson Close LANL's Area G

Over 1,000 citizen letters addressed to Governor Johnson requesting that he close Area G, the radioactive and hazardous materials waste dump for Los Alamos National Laboratory (or LANL), were delivered to the Governor this week as part of the Los Alamos Study Groupıs "CAN-paign" to End Nuclear Waste Disposal in Northern New Mexico." The letters were attached as labels to 12 ounce food cans and requested the Governor give the food to charities who serve the poor.

Area G does not have a state operating permit. In 1980, LANL began the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (or RCRA) permitting process, but failed to complete it. RCRA requires facilities to obtain a permit to operate, and if not, to close under strict public participation requirements for deciding the appropriate closure option.

Area G began receiving all types of solid and liquid waste in 1957. Almost 11 million cubic feet of radioactive and hazardous waste has been disposed there, almost twice the amount of waste scheduled for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, located near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group director, said, "It is time that LANL join the 21st century, obey the law, and close this site. There simply is no other option. Quite apart from the law, [LANL's contractor,] the University of California, which has made a fortune developing, producing, and promoting weapons of mass destruction at this laboratory, has a moral duty to stop polluting New Mexico."

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